Concert to benefit animals, Frank Buck Zoo

staff reports
On a warm day in 2020, A giraffe takes a break in the shade at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville.

While Alan Powers now lives in Valley Spring, he can remember outings in Gainesville with his parents.

“No matter where I live, this area – Gainesville, Valley View and Sanger – will always be home,” he in a news release.

Powers, other members of his family and KJC Ranch have decided to give back to the Cooke County community with a free concert at the Gainesville Farmer's Market to benefit the Frank Buck Zoo.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday with musical acts Jerry Hart & Flatland and Thomas Michael Riley with special guest Joe Forlini.

Powers and his sisters Ranae and Carmen grew up in Sanger with their parents. Grandparents Billie and Georgia Mask lived in Valley View and Goley and Edna Powers in Sanger.

“We grew up here,” Powers said in the release. “It’s special.”

Thought Forlini is looking forward to playing the guitar with Thomas Michael Riley, other acts he has played guitar for include Jerry Jeff Walker, Rusty Weir, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Augie Myers.

 Forlini is now the lead guitarist for Larry Joe Taylor. 

A camel roams in a large enclosure at Frank Buck Zoo in 2020.

“It’s going to be a big weekend,” Forlini added. “Good music, good food. What’s not to like?” 

Attendees will also get to hear Jerry Hart & Flatland debut three songs.

“It’s going to be fun,” Hart said encouraging people to come to the concert. “It’s for a good cause.” 

Hart has opened shows for Tracy Byrd, Mark Chestnut and Clay Walker. He is good friends with Powers, who owns KJC Ranch, a wildlife sanctuary for exotic animals, along with wife Cindy and sons Kasee and Jake.  

The Powers family breeds rare and endangered exotic species, including hoof stock, Arabian Oryx, sable, kudu, impala, addax and dama gazelles. Powers is a past board member for the Exotic Wildlife Association and a past trustee of the charitable arm of the Exotic Wildlife Association, which is the Second Ark Foundation.  

“We’re really looking forward to this concert,” Powers said.

In addition to music, a few of the Frank Buck Zoo’s animal ambassadors will make an appearance at the start of the event. There will also be a bounce house for kids.

While the concert is free, attendees may support the zoo by purchasing a concert T-shirt, band merchandise, wrist band for the bounce house, beverage sales, sponsor a species and individual animal sponsorships.  

A three-week old giraffe calf is pictured with mom at the Frank Buck Zoo.

Donations to the Frank Buck Zoological Society of any size will be accepted. Donations go directly to support habitat updates, animal acquisitions and zoo programs.  

If Riley wasn’t singing at the fundraiser, he said he would want to support the Frank Buck Zoo. “It’s a great cause,” said Riley, who has won Texas Music Album on the year and nominated for Entertainer of the Year and Song of the Year. “I would come out and want to make the world a better place.” 

The Frank Buck Zoo has served children, schools and citizens of North Texas, Texoma and Southern Oklahoma for 59 years. Its roots date back to the Gainesville Community Circus. In 1954, a fire destroyed most of the circus’s equipment. The animal performers were housed at the County Fairgrounds, where the Civic Center is located.  

In 1962, the animals were moved to their location in Leonard Park, which became the Gainesville Zoo. In 1970, the Frank Buck Zoological Society voted to rename the zoo after Gainesville’s Frank Buck, who was born in 1884. He became a world-famous animal collector and celebrity, who hosted his own radio show and had several book and film appearance credits to his name.  

No outside food or drinks are allowed.